Very special Lamborghini Diablo VT Roadster sets record at auction
The Lamborghini Diablo is quickly becoming the next ‘classic’ Raging Bull from Sant’Agata, built between 1990 and 2001, the successor to the legendary Lamborghini Countach and the predecessor to the Lamborghini Murciélago, and just two generations removed from the magnificent Lamborghini Miura from the Sixties which is considered to be the first supercar in the world.
But back to the Lamborghini Diablo, unveiled in January 1990 as the successor to the Countach 25th Anniversary at that time, available as a rear-wheel-drive model only initially, in 1993 Lamborghini introduced the Diablo VT, for Visco Traction, where power from the rear wheels could be transferred to the front wheel to create a kind of all-wheel-drive, the 1993 model revisions included a different dashboard, color-coded exterior rearview mirror housings and larger air intakes underneath the square lights in the front bumper.
The first major addition to the Diablo lineup came in 1995 when Lamborghini revealed the Diablo SV (which stood for Sport Veloce and not Super Veloce as many think) as a kind of stripped-down, lightweight version of the original Diablo 2WD, the Diablo SV also introduced the Alcantara upholstery to the Diablo line, but more importantly for our current article was the Diablo VT Roadster, the convertible V12 flagship from Sant’Agata, making it the first Lamborghini production model with a V12 engine that could be driven with the top down, there was the Lamborghini Silhouette and Jalpa before, but those were ‘entry-level’ V8 Lamborghini models, this was the first time Lamborghini made a V12 convertible available to clients.
The Diablo VT Roadster was seriously redesigned compared to the Diablo VT, still with the AWD setup and a massive 5.7-liter V12 just behind the driver and passenger, delivering 492 bhp at 7,000 rpm, enough to reach a top speed of 202 mph and accelerate from zero to 60 in just 4.2 seconds, even with the top removed, and yes, this wasn’t a kind of fold down top, or a ragtop like we would see much later on the Lamborghini Murciélago Roadster, instead the Diablo VT Roadster came with a rigid, lightweight, carbon fiber roof section that could be lifted off in one piece, and stored onto the bespoke engine cover.
The car we are talking about in this article was custom-ordered back in 1997 by none other than Donald Trump himself, and if that wasn’t already enough to make this car very rare, get this, only 132 units of the Lamborghini Diablo VT Roadster were built for the US market between 1997 and 1999 (when the MY1999 with fixed headlights took over). Thanks to the very good relationship Donald Trump had with Lamborghini, he was able to order this car in Blu Le Mans, a shade that according to sources wasn’t even available in 1997, making this the one and only Diablo VT Roadster in this very nice shade of blue, which happens to be seen on the Diablo SV too by the way.
Donald Trump owned this car from 1997 until 2002 when he sold it, but the pedigree remains, and there is even a special plaque fitted on the door to stipulate this was the car he bought back in 1997, the special paint he was able to order wasn’t the only rare option on this car, the two-tone interior, which looks like a combination of creme and black sure wasn’t standard on the Lamborghini Diablo back in the late Nineties, also note this car already came with both a driver airbag and a passenger airbag, and especially the latter does look like an afterthought from Lamborghini, they just ‘pasted’ it onto the dashboard in front of the passenger to pass regulation, it sure wasn’t nicely integrated into the interior as we would see on the MY1999 model later on.
This Blu Le Mans Lamborghini Diablo VT Roadster is chassis number ZA9RU37B3VLA12842 and it was listed as lot #1407 at the 2024 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction and it sold for a whopping $1,100,000 high-bid, including fees, that is an absolute record for the first generation Lamborghini Diablo VT Roadster, as these tend to change hands for anything between $350,000 and $500,000 these days, reaching about double that surely has something to do with the fact this specific car was once ‘presidentially owned’.
Do keep in mind that after Donald Trump sold the car in 2002, she changed hands once more, so there were three owners in total on this car before it headed to auction in late January, but that sure didn’t harm the value of this rather unique Raging Bull it seemed, so it’s clear that ‘celebrity ownership’ can really add value to a car, while I’m sure the Diablo VT Roadster will become a million dollar car in the future, at this time it’s only the Diablo SE30 Jota or Diablo GT that can reach seven-figure price tags, but the other ‘rare’ models will surely follow soon.